Border Guards Bangladesh

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Border Guards Bangladesh
বর্ডার গার্ড বাংলাদেশ
বাংলাদেশ সীমান্ত রক্ষক
BGB Flag.png
Flag of BGB
Active 1795–present
Country Flag of the British East India Company (1801).svg East India Company
British Raj British India (1873–1947)
Pakistan Pakistan (1947–1971)
Bangladesh Bangladesh (1971–present)
Allegiance Bangladesh
Branch Border guards
Type Paramilitary
Size 50,000[1]
BGB HQ Pilkhana
Nickname(s) BGB
Patron President
Anniversaries 26 March
Engagements World War I
World War II
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Bangladesh Liberation War
2001 Bangladeshi-Indian border skirmish
2015 Bangladesh–Arakan Army border clash
Decorations 1. Bir Sreshtho
2. Bir Uttom
3. Bir Bikrom
4. Bir Protik
Website http://www.bgb.gov.bd
Commanders
Director General Major General Abul Hossain
Insignia
Identification
symbol
BGR Logo.png

The Border Guards Bangladesh (Bengali transliteration: বর্ডার গার্ড বাংলাদেশ; translated from English: বাংলাদেশ সীমান্ত রক্ষক; BGB), formerly known as the Bangladesh Rifles,[2] is the oldest uniformed force in Bangladesh. It is a paramilitary force under the Ministry of Home Affairs. BGB is primarily responsible for the border security of the country, in Bangladesh the force is known as "The Vigilant Sentinels of the National Frontier".[3] The Present Director General is Maj. Gen. Abul Hossain.[4]

Border Guards Bangladesh, as a paramilitary force, is entrusted with the responsibility to defend the 4,427 kilometres (2,751 mi) border of Bangladesh.[5] BGB boasts a military history spanning over two centuries.[6] During peacetime this force is also responsible for anti-smuggling operations, investigating cross border crime and extending governmental authority to remote and isolated areas. From time to time BGB has also been called upon to assist the administration in the maintenance of internal law & order, relief and rehabilitation work after any kind of natural disaster.[7][8] During wartime BGB comes under the control of the Ministry of Defence as an auxiliary force to Bangladesh Army.

History[edit]

Formation and pre 1947[edit]

The Ramgarh Local Battalion was established on 29 June 1795 at the city of Ramgarh,[9] consisting of 486 personnel, as the "Frontier Protection Force", under the command of the East India Company.[10] Later the force was converted into a paramilitary unit with its own name (Ramgarh Local Battalion) and uniform. At that time its primary responsibility was to suppress insurgent activities around the Ramgarh area. During 1799, the force established its first camp at Pilkhana, where the headquarters remain to this day. The camp unit then was known as "Special Reserve Company".

The Ramgarh Local Battalion was renamed as the "Frontier Guards" and remained so for thirty years from 1861 to 1891. From 1891 till 1920, the Frontier Guards were re-organized and re-equipped with modern weapons and renamed once again as the "Bengal Military Police".[10] Commanded by a Subedar (Senior Warrant Officer), the BMP had four companies located in Dhaka, Dhumka and Gangtok. This force also participated in the First World War.[11] The BMP was reorganised yet once again and renamed as the "Eastern Frontier Rifles" in 1920. Its primary task was to protect the borders. It also took part in numerous military operations during the Second World War.[11]

East Pakistan Rifles[edit]

After the partition of India, "Eastern Frontier Rifles" was re-grouped and renamed as the "East Pakistan Rifles" in 1947.[12] It was the primary border protection force of the then East Pakistan. A number of Metropolitan Armed Police of Calcutta and some 1,000 ex-soldiers of West Pakistan merged into this force. Officers from the army were transferred to command and reorganise EPR. In 1958, it was also assigned the anti-smuggling duties on top of its primary role as the border guards. In 1965 India Pakistan war this force fought valiantly and successfully in a number of skirmishes in Lathitila, Dohogram, Laksmipur, Assalong and Boroibari. Major Tufail Mohammad was awarded the highest military award of Pakistan, 'Nishan-e-Haider', for his action in the Laksmipur Operation.[13][14]

A Bangladesh Rifles Senior Warrant Officer (left in yellow/green outfit) applies a mechanical advantage control/hold to a US Marine during training.

Bangladesh Liberation War 1971[edit]

During the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 nearly nine thousand of the members of the East Pakistan Rifles (EPR) turned against the Pakistan Army, following the Declaration of Independence of Bangladesh on 26 March 1971 at Kalurghat Radio Station, Chittagong. Eight hundred and seventeen EPR personnel were subsequently reported as being killed in action. East Pakistan Rifles was the border security and anti-smuggling force stationed in what was to become independent Bangladesh. It was commanded by Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO) at the company level. All EPR companies were based within 5 miles of the international boundary. There were two senior commissioned officers, seconded from the Pakistan Army in command of each Wing (battalion) of the EPR. In March 1971, there were 12 EPR Wings. The entire force according to CIA estimates had 10 thousand enlisted personal.[15]

At the outbreak of Bangladesh Liberation war the EPR were the first Bengali military unit to defect from the Pakistan forces; moving to Sholashahar and the main military cantonment, while calling on all Bengali soldiers to join them. Reportedly West Pakistani officers serving with the EPR were executed by their Bengali colleagues. On 26 March, the Pakistan Army sent troops to suppress the EPR. The EPR ambushed them but the Pakistanis managed to encircle them. As a result, the EPR took heavy losses at Kumira. According to Captain Rafiq, "This ambush by the E.P.R. troops at Kumira was the first direct action against the enemy in the history of our liberation war."[16]

Bangladesh Rifles[edit]

On 29 January 1972, the East Pakistan Rifles was renamed the Bangladesh Rifles with the officers seconded from Bangladesh Army.[17] Bangladesh Rifles initially had 9 thousand personal in 1971 which by 1973 had increased to 20 thousand.[18] Bangladesh Rifes and Indian Border Security Forces exchanged fired near the Comilla-Tripura border throughout the entire month of December 1979.[19] In 1996 Bangladesh Rifles personal had grown to 69 thousand.[20]

BSF and BGB

Bangladesh–India border clashes 2001[edit]

The 2001 Indian–Bangladeshi border conflict took place in the third week of April 2001 between companies of the Bangladesh Rifles and the Indian Border Security Force on the poorly marked international border between the two countries. This was the worst border conflict Bangladesh was involved in since Independence. The 16–19 April fighting took place around the village of Padua (known as Pyrdiwah in India), which adjoins the Indian state of Meghalaya and the Timbil area of the Bangladesh border in the Sylhet district. In that area, 6.5 kilometres of the border have remained in dispute for the past 30 years. The trigger for the clash appears to have been an attempt by Indian forces to construct a footpath from an army outpost in Padua across a disputed territory some 300 metres wide to Indian Meghalaya. On 15 April 2001, the BDR attacked and captured Pyrdiwah village. Both sides later deescalated and returned to the original positions on the border. This incident left 16 Indian Border Security Force paramilitary men dead and 3 Border Guards Bangladesh men dead with 5 other BGB troops injured.[21]

BDR Mutiny 2009[edit]

On 25 February 2009, regular BDR soldiers mutinied against their officers who were seconded from the Bangladesh Army.[22] The mutiny took when senior commanders were in Dhaka for convocation or durbar.[23][24] A total of 74 people were killed in the Mutiny.[25] Many senior officers were killed, including almost the entire higher echelon of the command structure – about 57 army officers who were present in the Bangladesh Rifles' headquarters in the capital Dhaka. These included the Director General of the BDR. The soldiers mutinied due to reasons which largely remain unknown, though resentment at officers being seconded from Bangladesh army and allegations of corruption are believed to have been among the causes.[26][27][28][29]

Dahgram BGB Check post sign

After 30 hours, being surrounded by Bangladesh Army tanks, the mutineers surrendered with about 6,000 of them taken under arrest, ending the mutiny.[30] On November 2013, Bangladesh sentenced 152 mutineers from Bangladesh Rifles to death.[31]

Border Guards Bangladesh[edit]

In the aftermath of the mutiny, the Bangladesh Rifles was reorganised with new recruits. The force is still commanded by senior officers seconded from the Bangladesh Army. The Bangladesh Rifles have gone through some fundamental changes since 2010. It was officially renamed as the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on 23 January 2011 and reorganised with fresh recruits. The BGB has a current strength of 50,000[1] organised into 61 battalions and largely located in numerous border outposts (B.O.P.). Administration staff and most of the officer corps are trained by and seconded from the Bangladesh Army. However, there are around 100 officers promoted from within the force itself. The border guards also formed their own intelligence unit.[32] The Border Guard Bangladesh Act, 2010 increased the maximum punishment for mutiny from 7 years in jail to the death penalty.[33]

Bangladesh–Myanamr border skirmish 2015[edit]

On 28 May 2014, during a routine patrol of the BGB in Bandarban District, along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, Myanmar Border Police opened indiscriminate firing on the BGB patrol. The incident took the life of Border Guard Corporal Mizanur Rahman 43. The body of the slain soldier was then carried over the border by Myanmar Border Police. On 30 May upon request of the Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh a BGB team was waiting near border pillar no. 52 for identification of the dead body which was proposed by the Myanmar side. However, to the complete surprise of the BGB, Myanmar border forces suddenly started firing on the waiting BGB team without any provocation resulting in the BGB team returning fire. Both sides deescalated and agreed to a cease fire and on the following day Myanmar returned the dead body of BGB Corporal Mizanur Rahman. Bangladesh's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had protested strongly to the Burmese ambassador over the unprovoked eruption of gunfire by Burmese border troops.[34][35]

Bangladesh–Arakan Army border clash 2015[edit]

On 26 August 2015 the Arakan Army, A separatist group in Myanmar, attack a BGB patrol in Boro Modak, Thanchi, Bandarban. Two border guards were injured in the attack. On 11 May 2015 the BGB camp in Thanchi came under mortar fire, BGB retaliated by firing two rounds towards the border.[36] Indian BSF agrred to allow BGB to use BSF roads in India to patrol the border on 1 August 2016.[37] On 15 November 2016 Border Guards Bangladesh stopped 86 Rohingyas from entering Bangladesh on two boats.[38] On 6 February 2017 BGB protested with their counterparts in Myanmar Border Guard Police , after they shot and killed a Bangladeshi fisherman in the Naf River.[39] BGB deployed its first female border guards on 24 February 2017 in the Dinajpur border area.[40] BGB and Myanmar Police Force came to an agreement on 6 April 2017 to remove mines from the border area.[41]

Decorations[edit]

The then-East Pakistan Rifles joined the Bangladesh War of Independence on the side of Mukti Bahini in 1971. One hundred and forty one members earned gallantry awards for their outstanding contribution to the liberation war of Bangladesh. Naik Nur Mohammad Sheikh and Naik Munshi Abdur Rouf posthumously earned the Bir Sreshtha, which is the highest gallantry award of the nation.[42][43] 8 earned the Bir Uttom. 40 earned the Bir Bikram and 91 earned the Bir Protik awards.

After independence, on 3 March 1972 the force had been renamed as Bangladesh Rifles. As a mark of recognition for the courage and bravery of its members, BDR introduced 'Bangladesh Rifles Podok' in 1985 and President Rifles podok' in 1989.[44][45] 21 members had received the 'Bangladesh Rifles Podok' 29 had received the 'President Rifles Podok'.

Responsibilities[edit]

  • Patrolling and securing the border
  • Investigating cross border crimes
  • Anti-smuggling Operations
  • Counter Terrorism
  • Domestic law enforcement during national emergencies
  • Acting as a reserve force under M.O.D. during war

List of Chiefs of Border Guards Bangladesh[edit]

Organization[edit]

The BGB is commanded by a major general. The BGB administration and most of the officer corps are trained and deputed from the Bangladesh Army. There are, however, around 100 officers who are promoted from within the force itself. They can be promoted as high as Deputy Director (D.D) which is equivalent to the rank of lt. colonel and Assistant Director (A.D) equivalent to the rank of major and Deputy Assistant Director (D.A.D) equivalent to the rank of captain in Bangladesh Army . Its current strength is 50,000[1] structured along 61 battalions and numerous border outposts (B.O.P.), mostly along the borders. BGB is organised into a central headquarters and 4 regional headquarters. Under the regional headquarters there are 16 sectors. Each sector is commanded by a colonel.

  • Central HQ: Pilkhana, Dhaka[3]
    • Director-General (DG):
      • Deputy Director-General (DDG):
      • Director (Operations and Training):
      • Director (Administration):
      • Sector Command (Dhaka):
        • 13th BGB Battalion
        • 24th BGB Battalion
        • 36th BGB Battalion
        • 44th BGB Battalion
    • North Eastern Regional HQ: Sarail
      • Sector Command (Comilla):
        • 12th BGB Battalion
        • 19th BGB Battalion
        • 33rd BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Mymensingh):
        • 6th BGB Battalion
        • 16th BGB Battalion
        • 27th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Srimangal):
      • Sector Command (Sylhet):
        • 5th BGB Battalion
        • 8th BGB Battalion
        • 14th BGB Battalion
        • 38th BGB Battalion
    • North Western Regional HQ: Rangpur
      • Sector Command (Dinajpur):
        • 2nd BGB Battalion
        • 3rd BGB Battalion
        • 20th BGB Battalion
        • 40th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Rajshahi):
        • 37th BGB Battalion
        • 39th BGB Battalion
        • 43rd BGB Battalion
        • 46th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Rangpur):
        • 25th BGB Battalion
        • 31st BGB Battalion
        • 7th BGB Battalion
        • 45th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Thakurgaon):
    • South Eastern Regional HQ: Khagrachari
      • Sector Command (Baghaichari):
      • Sector Command (Bandarban):
        • 10th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Chattagram):
        • 15th BGB Battalion
        • 17th BGB Battalion
        • 28th BGB Battalion
        • 42nd BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Khagrachari):
        • 9th BGB Battalion
        • 11th BGB Battalion
        • 21st BGB Battalion
        • 29th BGB Battalion
        • 30th BGB Battalion
        • 47th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Rangamati):
        • 1st BGB Battalion
        • 4th BGB Battalion
        • 18th BGB Battalion
        • 26th BGB Battalion
    • South Western Regional HQ: Jessore
      • Sector Command (Kushtia):
        • 32nd BGB Battalion
        • 35th BGB Battalion
      • Sector Command (Khulna):
        • 34th BGB Battalion
        • 22nd BGB Battalion
        • 23rd BGB Battalion
        • 41st BGB Battalion

Equipment[edit]

Name Type Caliber Notes
Type 92 Semi-automatic pistol 9mm Standard issue sidearm.
Type 54 Semi-automatic pistol 7.62mm Chinese version of Soviet Tokarev TT-33 in service with all branches of armed, para-military and law enforcement services.
BD-08 Assault rifle 7.62mm Produced under license by BOF.
Type 85 Sniper rifle 7.62mm
BD-08 Light machine gun 7.62mm Produced under license by BOF.
Bren Gun Light machine gun 7.62mm
Rheinmetall MG 3 General purpose machine gun 7.62mm
Type 63-1 Mortar 60 mm Being replaced by Type 93.
M 29A1 Mortar 81mm
Otokar Cobra LAV A 4x4 wheeled LAV. 17 Received in 2008. 7 are in use with Bangladesh Police since 2007.
Akshay class Coastal Patrol Craft 1 ship (BGB Shah Jalal)[46]

Future modernization programme[edit]

BGB has adopted a long term modernization plan named BGB Goal 2041 in 2017. The plan intends to make BGB a well-trained, well-equipped and technologicallyadvanced force.

In short terms, BGB plans to raise a new region (equivalent to army division) in Ramu of Cox.s Bazar. Three new sectors (equivalent to army brigade) willbe raised at Ali Kadom of Bandarban, Naogaon and Jessore.Eight new battalions will be raised at Jhikargacha of Jessore, Meherpur, Khagrachari, Boro modok of Bandarban, Gazipur, narayanganj and Kulaura of Maulavibazar.

Forthe first time riverine battalions will be raised in BGB who will be able to operate in riverine borders and ‘char’ (riverine islands). Two such batalions will be rased- one at Nildumur of Shatkhira and another at Teknaf.

A quick response force (QRF) will be established for BGB. The force will work to supply modern arms and ammunition swiftly to border points in case of any emerency.[47]

BGB intends to go three dimnsional as per the plan. To attain that goal, an aviation wing of BGB is under formation. Soon BGB will procure two MI-17 series helicopters from Russia.[48] However, Bangladesh Air Force pilots will fly the helicopters initially. A heliport with hanger is being set up at Baitul-ijjat in Bandarban. Eventually, BGB plans to have four aviation wings.[49]

The expansion of BGB is also in full swing. The number of personnel will be increased from 50000 to 65000 soon. They will set up 124 BOPs and 70 heli-support BOPs in the border areas of hilly districts along the border with Myanmar. To effectivly patrol the border, border roadds are being constructed.

To effectively monitor the border, BGB plans to add modern technology to the border management. The plan is to set up cameras, night vision googles, infrared sensors throughout the border. BGB plans to achieve 3I (Information, Identiication, Inteervention) capabilities in the border in long term. in long term, BGB lans to have Radar and Satelite monitoring in the border.

References[edit]

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